You Asked For A Loving God

“You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the ‘lord of terrible aspect,’ is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds. persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes.”

~ C.S. Lewis

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23 thoughts on “You Asked For A Loving God”

  1. “jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes.””

    Well, more jealous. I would certainly be jealous if my girlfriend was cheating on me. But I wouldn’t lock her in the basement and torture her for eternity because of it.

          1. So infinite torture is fine as long as your god is the one doing it? I ask because, for me, the morality of an action is not changed based on who is performing that action. Infinite torture is always immoral. I don’t care who is doing it or who is ordering it be done.

          2. At the heart of this is a fatal misunderstanding of the seriousness of sinning against an all-holy God. To us, sin doesn’t seem like such a big deal sometimes. We do it all the time without a second thought. But God sees sin as it really is – an evil, destructive, malignant force that seeks to deny Him His place as Lord over all things. It must be dealt with, and dealt with permanently. Even if we don’t see it now, the reality of eternal punishment shows us how serious sin truly is.

            And while I know how wrong and unfair is may seem for God to punish people in hell, I think you’re approaching this issue the wrong way. Scripture says that all men have sinned and rebelled against a righteous, holy God. That is a serious offense. What you and I and everyone who has ever lived deserve is hellfire and everlasting judgment. If anything’s “unfair”, it’s that God sent His righteous, sinless Son to take that punishment in our stead. That means we don’t get what we deserve; it means we get forgiveness and eternal life through the blood of Jesus Christ, rather than judgment for our sins.

          3. I think the misunderstanding is clear between us, and it is that you think that eternal torture can somehow be justified and I do not.

            I don’t care how all-holy your deity is supposed to be. Even if you were guilty of something as heinous as murder, I could not be convinced that you deserved to be tortured forever. That being the case, it’s going to be a lot harder for you to convince me that anyone deserves to be tortured forever for doing something less-heinous than murder.

            And I also object to substitutionary atonement. I will be responsible for my own actions, and only my own actions, and do not accept someone else taking on the blame for me.

            Not that I believe in the deity in question, or the particular blame I’m supposed to have, but I’m willing to grant it for the sake of this conversation.

          4. Like I said, at the root of our disagreement is a fundamentally different understanding of sin and how it relates to God’s holiness. If we cannot agree on that, we can’t really find any common ground when it comes to eternal punishment… or anything pertaining to theology, for that matter.

            That said, I appreciate your coming “out of the woodwork” (so to speak) to engage in a discussion. :)

  2. Very good quote, Scribe. It is beautiful.

    NotAScientist, I would like to address some of the questions you brought up. God gives each of us our whole lifetime to decide where we want to go. He gave us the choice. He put the gift out there, we choose which one to take. So no, our God doesn’t send us to hell. We do it to ourselves when we refuse to allow the blood of Jesus Christ to be our substitutionary attonement.

    Also, God can’t compare to a jealous boyfriend. The boyfriend might allow her to come back to him. If she cheats again, she is probably out the door. Forever. However, unlike the unforgiving boyfriend, God will take her back-as long as she is repentant. Every. Single. Time. That dosn’t sound judgemental to me. Hosea from the Old Testament of the Bible gives us the perfect picture of how gracious God is.

    I have one question for NotAScientist. OK, so if I am wrong, what happens to me? I die and that’s the end of it. I am dust.

    But, when you die, what if you are wrong….

    1. “God gives each of us our whole lifetime to decide where we want to go. He gave us the choice.”

      Not really.

      I’ve made no choice to go to Hell. I just don’t believe your god exists. Those aren’t the same things.

      “God will take her back-as long as she is repentant. Every. Single. Time.”

      Unless you’re dead. Right? Which to me doesn’t sound like ‘every single time’. In fact, if I’m going to live forever, less than a hundred years sounds like a very short amount of time. And then, after that, I’m out of luck.

      “OK, so if I am wrong, what happens to me?”

      That depends who happens to be right. if the Muslims are right, you’ll be hanging out in Hell next to me.

      “But, when you die, what if you are wrong….”

      Again, that depends who is right.

      Now, if you are actually asking me, what if YOU’RE right? Well then, I go to hell. But I have yet to be convinced that a god who would send people to Hell is a god that I’d want to worship, even if I did believe it existed.

      1. NotAScientist, you seem to have a picture in your mind of God strapping people to a rack and beating them for eternity in Hell. I think that is a better description of Satan.

        Hell is described in the Bible as;

        *More like a jail*. 2 Peter 2:4 “God did not spare angels when they sinned but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness to be reserved for judgment.”
        I don’t see torture in there. It isn’t a pleasant place, but neither is jail today.

        *Being in Torment*. Luke 16:23 describes someone as being in torment, not tortured. I think someone in jail today would be in torment. They aren’t tortured.

        You say you couldn’t believe in a God who condones eternal torture. I couldn’t either. That isn’t who I believe in. God is your creator, the creator of the entire universe – be careful of taking it upon yourself to judge Him incorrectly. He is Infinitely more powerful, more intelligent, more loving and just than any mere man.

        John 3:16-18 states “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him *shall not perish*, but have *eternal life*. For God did not send the Son into the world to *judge* the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. *He who believes in Him is not judged*; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

        2 Peter 3:9 “ The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for *any* to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

        1. “I don’t see torture in there. It isn’t a pleasant place, but neither is jail today.

          *Being in Torment*. Luke 16:23 describes someone as being in torment, not tortured. I think someone in jail today would be in torment. They aren’t tortured. ”

          I don’t see ‘torment’ for eternity to be that much better than ‘torture’ forever. I think you’re splitting hairs here.

          “You say you couldn’t believe in a God who condones eternal torture. ”

          No.

          I couldn’t worship/follow/like/love a God who condones eternal punishment of any kind. I could, potentially, believe that that god existed. I just wouldn’t be happy about it.

          “God is your creator, the creator of the entire universe – be careful of taking it upon yourself to judge Him incorrectly. He is Infinitely more powerful, more intelligent, more loving and just than any mere man. ”

          You are free to believe that, but I see no good evidence to support it.

          And just so you know, quoting Bible verses to someone who doesn’t already believe is not convincing in the least.

    1. At the risk of sounding rude…why did you think any of those links would convince me?

      As I said before, there is literally nothing I am aware of that you could tell me that would convince me that torturing someone, anyone, for eternity was a good or just idea. I’m quite glad that I don’t think it actually exists. But even if it did, my opinion would not change.

      And, if somehow I found myself in heaven, knowledge of hell would make heaven un-heavenly to me. And if your god changed me so that I was happy with hell, then I wouldn’t be me anymore.

      So, I’m sorry, but I think you’re a good person, and I don’t think you deserve Hell. I doubt there’s much you can do to change my opinion in that matter, even if I was convinced your religion was true.

      1. I never thought that by sharing those articles I could magically convince you of the truth: only God can do that. I sought only to give you something to think about.

        Ah, see, there you’re wrong: I am not a good person. I do deserve hell. But through Christ’s blood, I’m not getting what I deserve. I’ve been forgiven.

  3. NotAScientist,

    The difference between torture and torment is a vast difference, it is not splitting hairs.

    I haven’t found anywhere in the Bible that God torments/tortures people for eternity. Those who accept Jesus Christ will live forever; those that do not will perish.

    1. So it was torment, but now is just perishing?

      That’s what’s going to happen to everyone anyway. Why should that bother me?

      Again, I have no good evidence your god exists, so I see no reason to believe that believing in it will make me live forever.

      1. NotAScientist,

        In this sense, “perish” means more than simply “die”. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16).

        If a man dies unrepentant and unchanged by God, he will be cast into hell. And he will be there – for all eternity (Rev.14:11; 20:14,15) – in torment (Matt. 13:50; Mark 9:48; Rev. 14:10). This is not unjust, this is not unfair, this is not cruel. This is the justice of a holy God upon vile, rebellious sinners.

        End of discussion, since we only seem to be going in circles.

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